Written by LaShawn Encarnacion aka The Dark Knight of Sports
One of the primary rules in professional sports is to protect the integrity of the game. That has a wide range but one particular and big piece is the product that is put on display for the paying customers. So when teams like in the NFL the Cleveland Browns, San Diego Chargers and Detroit Lions do very poorly. Teams in the NBA like the Brooklyn Nets or the Philadelphia 76ers look like they do not even want to play ball. Is it time for contraction of these leagues to bring back some integrity on the field of play?
The a fore mentioned 76ers are the prime example for this question. The Miami Dolphins, while they have more wins than the Chargers and Lions, they could also be considered as their franchise is a complete mess like said 76ers. But for this argument, the primary focus will be using the 76ers as the emphasis point.
The days of the 76ers being a competitive team have been long gone for almost over a decade. The days of Allen Iverson, Sir Charles Barkley, Julius “Dr. J” Irving, Darryl Dawkins “Chocolate Thunder” just to name a few are feeling the pain of today’s’ struggles of the 76ers.
Losers of their first 18-games, 24-game losing streak dating back from last season. Their draft picks from the last three drafts are either struggling with injuries like Joel Embiid to getting themselves into trouble off-the-court like Jahlil Okafor. Even when Nerlens Noel was originally drafted, he himself dealt with injuries but since has recovered.
Is it time for change in the NBA? Is it time to begin to talk contraction? Perhaps realignment of the entire league?
The Eastern Conference is the easiest conference to play in and get into the playoffs. As bad as the 76ers have been playing over the last decade, because they are in the Eastern Conference, they managed to make the playoffs eight times while winning their opening round series three out of those right times. In the 2000-2001 season they went all the way to the NBA Finals where they lost to the LA Lakers and the Kobe and Shaq dynamic duo. However the last time the 76ers won an NBA Championship was in the early 1980’s … the 1982-1983 season to be exact.
So is it just a case of the “injury bug” like in the situations like NFL’s San Diego Chargers? That injuries have kept the 76ers from making the playoffs as often as they did in the 1990’s when the name 76ers and playoffs were pretty synonymous with each other? Is it possible mismanagement and bad decisions from the front office that has caused the 76ers demise over the last several seasons?
One thing is certain. When the words “tanking a season” get thrown at one organization in consecutive seasons happens, then there is a reason to question their integrity of the product they put on the court every season. One of the most difficult things to believe is how a once proud and history franchise, one that was one of the original franchises in the history of basketball (known as the Nationals) could have fallen off so far from greatness.
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